New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

read in full
Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

read in full
Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

read in full
Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

read in full
more news

You Can't Say Congress Isn't Listening to the American People...

'Merican Dollars Should Stay in Merica'

When an Economist/YouGov poll came out early last month, several economics and political bloggers re-highlighted the fact that Americans, by a large majority, favor lower government spending over increased taxes in order to balance the budget, but that when asked to make hard choices refuse to cut any specific programs except for low-hanging fruit like foreign aid. According to a recent Congressional Quarterly article (subscription), it seems that members of Congress may answer the average American's wish during this year's budget process.

read in full

Senate Budget Resolution to Call for Freezing All Non-Security Discretionary Spending

Come Git Yer Budget

Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-SD), who released his mark for the Senate's budget resolution yesterday, is calling for $671 billion more in deficit reduction over the next five years compared to the president's budget proposal. Conrad achieves his reduction by jettisoning the president's selected discretionary caps and placing a freeze on all non-security discretionary spending over the next three fiscal years.

read in full

Obama Calls for Review of Mine Safety Policy

In reaction to the West Virginia explosion that left 29 miners dead, President Obama called today for reform of mine safety laws and regulations and better enforcement of those regulations by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). His remarks are available on the White House website.

read in full

Tell the Senate to Vote No on Disastrous Discretionary Spending Caps

In what looks like an attempt to out-fiscal-hawk President Obama, Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have introduced an amendment that would impose strict limits on discretionary spending for the next three years. The amendment sets limits far lower than Obama's already low budget proposal, and it even includes a cap on defense discretionary spending, something the President's proposal does not do. Such caps would result in drastic cuts to many vital economic safety net programs and public protection agencies, negatively impacting the lives of millions of Americans. And while the two senators claim that the amendment will reduce the deficit, in reality, because discretionary spending is so little of the federal budget, the amendment's deficit-reducing effects will be minimal.

read in full

CBO Scores Obama's Budget

I know everyone's been distracted lately with health care, the Olympics, and the last season of Lost, but the budget process has been churning away silently these past few months. While we await Congress' budget resolution on April 15, the Congressional Budget Office decided to remind us all that the process is still moving ahead by releasing an analysis of the President's budget, one which is significantly less rosy than the President's estimate.

read in full

President Obama's Progressive Tax Initiatives

When President Obama rolled out his Fiscal Year 2011 budget in early February, many focused attention on the potential negative effects of the administration's proposed three-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending. Moreover, the possible effects of the president’s hawkish rhetoric toward the federal budget deficit dismayed those in the progressive community who are concerned with social equity. However, a detailed examination of the tax section of the president's budget reveals several progressive proposals designed to aid in the fight against poverty and bolster the middle class.

read in full

For Regulatory Agencies, Intrigue in an Otherwise Bleak Budget

President Barack Obama's proposed budgetary spending freeze would have varying impacts on the regulatory agencies responsible for protecting public health and welfare. Oversight of industry and solving new and neglected problems may dwindle as environmental and consumer safety regulators are forced to operate in a constrained fiscal environment.

read in full

Krugman: Unhinged Deficit Fears Create Misguided Policy Priorities

Paul Krugman

If you missed Paul Krugman’s op-ed in the New York Times this past Thursday, I strongly recommend reading it. The Nobel Prize-winning economist and Princeton scholar adroitly explains why “the sudden ubiquity of deficit scare stories,” which “isn’t being driven by any actual news,” is leading Washington to focus on the wrong fiscal priorities.

read in full

Sound and Fury or a Tell?

The Budget Brigade never finds itself short of words when it comes to commenting on the president's budget proposal. But it is, after all, just a proposal. What is the practical effect of the president's budget? Bruce Bartlett writing at Capital Gains and Games in a great post on of the history of federal budget making says "not much."

read in full

Iraq Reconstruction IG Nabs a Couple Bad Guys

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

The office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released its 24th quarterly report on Saturday. If you haven't been paying attention to what's been going on in Iraq recently, it's worth a read. Besides providing observations on what's happening in the country and detailing the sources and uses of reconstruction funds, the inspector general's report also describes their recent oversight activities and successes in rooting out corruption within government contracting overseas.

read in full


Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

read in full

A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

read in full
more resources